'Bloody cracker of a game'

Wests Tigers v Whitsunday Brahmans at Walkerston earlier this year in May.
Wests Tigers v Whitsunday Brahmans at Walkerston earlier this year in May. Madolyn Peters


THERE are no excuses for the Whitsunday Brahmans A-grade team as they head into the grand final this weekend against Wests Tigers with the under-19 side to take on Brothers Mackay.

Brahmans manager Bryce Fraser said this was the first time this year the team was at full strength.

"The week off we had from winning the major semi was extremely handy as we had a few guys who were under an injury cloud had we had to play last week,” he said.

"This has given them extra time to recover and get their bodies ready.”

Previously in the playing season, the teams are one all - each claiming victory at their home matches.

"Our win in the major semi is the difference between us at the moment,” Fraser said.

"You couldn't get a more evenly matched contest than this grand final at the moment.”

At last night's final training session before the showdown the team focused on play execution and timing.

"All the work for fitness has already been done right from the pre-season really,” Fraser said.

Taking the hard line, the manager said the game is in the Brahmans hands.

"If we play how we should play, then the only people we have to blame is ourselves if we don't win it,” he said.

"We have the team to do it and given our perfect game we should do it.”

Dubbed as an "absolute bloody cracker of a game”, the Wests Tigers will be chomping at the bit for a win as they have not won a premiership in 35 years.

"Spectators are sure to get their money's worth,” added Fraser. "It should be the biggest crowd for a grand final they've had for a long time, we both have big home crowds and loyal supporter base.”

For the Brahmans, this is the third consecutive year they have made the grand final but for captain Phil Ramage it is his first at the helm.

He said both the teams this year were deserving of their grand final spots and he was expecting a tough match when the boys run out at the Mackay Stadium this Saturday at 7.30pm and 3.30pm for the U19 team.

Ramage said a few Brahmans players are not 100% fit but the week off last week was welcome "breathing space”.

"Our last six weeks has been very pleasing, the boys have been tuning up and putting in and we are looking forward to this Saturday night,” he said.

When pepping his team on Saturday night: "I will be telling them that we need to bring that aggression ... if our forwards can get on top and dominate then it will be up to the backs to finish off.”

"When you get tackled then in the next contest you need to get up and fight and bring energy,” he said.

Ramage said as captain this year he will be forced to tone down is on-field aggression and "suck it up and take you medicine”.

"You may have a bad call five minutes into he game but if you are ill disciplined the refs are not going to do you any favours.

But at the same time, on- field discipline was key, Ramage said.

"The discipline that we have showed, even in the last half of the season, has been much improved. Which is very pleasing and a credit to the boys and the club,” Ramage said.

The Whitsunday Sea Eagles A-grade side has also secured a grand final berth at Harrup Park against the Mackay City Hawks this Saturday at 3.45pm.

The under-14s and under-17s team and the will take on North Mackay Saints at 8.55am and 10.30am respectively.

Bus tickets for the A-grade match are still available from Metropole Hotel and private buses leaving from Bowen and Airlie Beach.

Topics:  brahmans rugby league grand final rugby west tigers whitsundays

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